Embrace Your Own Beauty

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my examination in media’s portrayal of beauty. I want to momentarily talk about what two things women said they wanted to be changed from the media. The first thing women around the world said they would like to see change is that female beauty should be portrayed in the media as being made up of more than just physical attractiveness (“The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report”). The second thing they wanted was for media to do a better job of portraying women of diverse physical attractiveness-age, shape, and size (“The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report”). Whether the media will heed these wishes, or not is unknown, however, with everyone coming together there is still hope.

In that survey a staggering amount of women agreed that a women can be beautiful at any age, every woman has something about her that is beautiful, and beauty can be achieved through attitude, spirit, and other attributes that have nothing to do with physical appearance (“The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report”). I think we need to focus on that instead of whatever the media throws our way.

I want to leave you with one last thing. The next time you are watching TV, or flipping through the pages of a magazine, or driving past a large billboard, I hope you stop and think for a moment. What exactly are you seeing? First of all, is it real? Has it been enhanced or altered through methods of Photoshop? If it is real, is it realistic or has the individual been dieting and working out all day every day, or (hopefully not) could they have an eating disorder? If you feel guilty or inadequate, take a step back and remember all of the reasons why you are beautiful. Stop comparing yourself to others and instead embrace your own beauty.

Cited:

“The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report.” http://www.clubofamsterdam.com. Dove, Sept. 2004. Web. Nov. 2013.

Possible Solutions

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With media surrounding us, it may seem impossible to ever change the effects their portrayals of beauty have on us. However, I would like to offer some tips from Oprah Winfrey’s website (the woman whom most plastic surgery patients try and model their forehead after, as discussed in my earlier post).

The first tip is to stop buying into the media (“Women and Body Image”). They suggest that you don’t buy the magazines or limit the amount of television you watch (“Women and Body Image”). The next tip is to insert yourself into a healthier environment (“Women and Body Image”). They say that you should not hang around with shallow people who will judge you only by appearance. The article goes on to say how important it is to look in the mirror and learn to love yourself (“Women and Body Image”). This step may be hard at first, but the more you try and focus on what you like, rather than what you want to change, the better. Another helpful tip is to discuss your body image issues with someone (“Women and Body Image”). If you can talk about what is stressing you out, then by bringing those concerns to the light of reason, the person you are talking about it with can help you see your true beauty (“Women and Body Image”). The last tip in the article and the one I find the most helpful is to not compare yourself to other women (“Women and Body Image”).

“Every woman in America is affected by a feeling of inadequacy that they are never young enough, thin enough or pretty enough. Women must counter that irrational and destructive impulse to ordinariness by identifying the unique gift that only they have and which the world needs in order to be perfected. Find your gift (“Women and Body Image”).”

Cited:

“Women and Body Image.” Oprah.com. N.p., 1 Jan. 2008. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.

Do You Describe Yourself as Beautiful?

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We’ve talked a lot about what the media puts forward, but now I would really like to break that down in the sense of how it relates to a woman’s inner self. I would first like to start out with a video from Dove. This video shows women describing their looks to an FBI artist. Then a different person comes in and describes the same person. The differences in the pictures, even though they were described about the same person are surprising.

As you saw by the video, those women were not generous in the way they described themselves. We could credit that to a possible modesty or we could also say that they do not picture themselves as beautiful. In fact, Dove created a study in ten different countries to see how comfortable women were with describing their looks and if they were satisfied with those looks called “The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report”

One of the interesting things about this report is the fact that women tend to not use the word “beautiful” to describe themselves. Instead they turn to words such as natural (31%) or average (29%) (“The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report” 9). Only a small 2% described themselves as beautiful and 4/10 women strongly agreed to feeling uncomfortable using that word for their own looks (“The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report” 11).

The majority of females remain “somewhat satisfied” with their beauty (58%), physical attractiveness (59%), and facial attractiveness (58%) (“The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report” 19). These women are likely to be the group most receptive to the media’s portrayal of beauty, because even though they have some satisfaction with how they look, the also believe they could be more satisfied (“The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report” 20). In my next post I hope I will offer some solutions to the media’s portrayal of beauty.

Cited:

“Real Beauty Sketches – Dove.” Real Beauty Sketches – Dove. Dove, 2013. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.

“The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report.” http://www.clubofamsterdam.com. Dove, Sept. 2004. Web. Nov. 2013.

Working Out

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With all of these images of thin and beautiful people constantly on every media form possible, many people are going to the extremes to try to shed the extra weight, but not everyone can afford liposuction or other plastic surgeries. In just about every webpage you see the advertisements for the new diet pill or the quick workout that will solve your problems. Often times however, these too are unrealistic. For example: in The Black Swan, Natalie Portman had to shed 20 pounds for the role (“Natalie Portman: I Was ‘Barely Eating’ During ‘Black Swan'”)! She said that she was “barely eating and working 16 hours a day” (“Natalie Portman: I Was ‘Barely Eating’ During ‘Black Swan'”). Her costar Mila Kunis also had to loose weight for the part getting all the way down to 95 pounds (“Natalie Portman: I Was ‘Barely Eating’ During ‘Black Swan'”).

The thing is that loosing this weight (besides being terribly unhealthy) is their job. Take Hugh Jackman for his role in Wolverine, he too was working out for hours a day trying to prepare his body to look animalistic. We see these people on screen and don’t realize all the things they have had to go through to get that body. They have personal trainers, dietitians, nutritionists, and time. They have all day to work out to prepare for their upcoming roles, while other people have to work.

I don’t want to take away the hope someone may have about loosing weight, but it

must be done in a healthy way. Starving yourself or just drinking cleansing beverages is not the way to do it. I think this picture says it all, but when did this switch occur?

Nowadays, more people are overweight but the media is portraying skinnier and skinnier people. The stars have such great bodies, but also have the resources to get that way. I know for me at least, I become frustrated by not seeing the same results. I know that I work hard enough and eat right, but I feel as though I’ll never look the way I want. But sometimes that may be a good thing. You can step back and look in the mirror and finally just see you without the comparison of someone else’s body in your mind. In my next post I will talk more about our minds and how it effects our perceptions of ourselves.

Cited:

“Natalie Portman: I Was ‘Barely Eating’ During ‘Black Swan'” Huffingtonpost.com. N.p., 07 Jan. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.

Plastic Surgery

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Plastic surgery is no longer about fixing cleft palates or reconstructive surgery after breast cancer. No, plastic surgery now has everything to do with vanity. With the media constantly telling us what is beautiful, we become insecure with our own looks and want to look more like the classical beauties of our time. One study was done to see what influences celebrities have on the decisions patients make. The survey was sent to over 20,000 surgeons in 84 countries (“Celebrity Influences on Plastic Surgery”).  The surgeons were asked to connect celebrities with the popular procedures and these are the results, all which came from “Celebrity Influences on Plastic Surgery.”

Breasts-Pamela Anderson

Lips-Angelina Jolie

Buttocks-Jennifer Lopez

Nose-Nicole Kidman

Abdomen-Giselle Bundchen

Eyes-Angelina Jolie

Cheeks-Sophia Loren

Legs-Cameron Diaz

Hair-Giselle Bundchen

Chin-Charlize Theron

Forehead-Oprah Winfrey

One of the biggest defenders of plastic surgery is that if it makes a person feel better about themself, then they should be able to do it. However, this survey clearly shows that people are not fixing the small imperfections they see in themselves. Instead, they are modeling a body part after someone who’s beautiful through the media’s eyes. The reason they are unhappy with their crooked nose or thin lips is because they are comparing themselves to celebrities.

For an extreme example of this obsession, we can turn to the recent headlines of a

man spending over $100,000 dollars on plastic surgery to look like his idol Justin Bieber! 33-year-old Toby Sheldon spent all that money along with 5 years of his life dedicated to trying to make his looks more like the singer (The Hollywood Reporter). He has had work done on his eyes and smile as well as Botox (The Hollywood Reporter). He has admitted to being afraid of aging, but apparently isn’t afraid of bankruptcy (The Hollywood Reporter).

In my next post I will talk about the more “traditional” ways of trying to look like the stars.

Cited:

“Celebrity Influences on Plastic Surgery.” Search.proquest.com. PR Newswire, 28 Jan. 2008. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.

The Hollywood Reporter. “Justin Bieber Fan Spends $100K on Plastic Surgery to Look Like the Singer.” Billboard.com. N.p., 22 Oct. 2013. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.

Amanda Bynes and Twitter

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As I mentioned in the previous post, not all celebrities are embracing their true beauty like Brad Pitt and Jessica Simpson. One such person would be Amanda Bynes. Amanda used to be such a good role model, however now I would hope that young girls and women alike would not listen to what she says. I don’t want to say that she is a bad person, however, her Twitter is not very positive…at all!

Some things that she goes on to say are, “If you look good words can’t hurt you (Bynes). I just weighed myself and I’m 114! Only 14 lbs closer to 100 (Bynes)! It doesn’t matter if you feel sexy if you don’t look sexy (Bynes). There’s a surgery for everything that’s wrong with you (Bynes)! If you’re not hot I don’t value your opinion (Bynes).”

When I first saw those quotes on her Twitter feed I was shocked! What happened to the sweet girl from the movie She’s the Man?  I don’t even know her and I felt like I had been insulted. When she talks about trying to get down to 100 pounds, I momentarily questioned whether I should be trying to do the same thing. When she says she doesn’t care about opinions if they don’t come from a hot person, I felt like I had to defend myself. The biggest one to me was that you have to look sexy to feel sexy. I immediately was yelling at my laptop saying, “NO YOU DON’T!!” These small sentences hold a lot of power. Power she may not even realize she has. If she could generate those types of emotions from me, imagine what type of things she could make other women do.

On her feed she also goes on to talk about surgery. Her nose surgery, her “corrective” surgeries, so many plastic surgeries!!! I will talk more about plastic surgery in my next post.

Cited:

Bynes, Amanda (amandabynes). “If you look good words can’t hurt you.” 10 Jul.   2013, 9:29 p.m. Tweet.

Bynes, Amanda (amandabynes). “I just weighed myself and I’m 114! Only 14 lbs  closer to 100!” 3 Jul. 2013, 10:57 a.m. Tweet.

Bynes, Amanda (amandabynes). “It doesn’t matter if you feel sexy if you don’t look sexy.” 20 Jun 2013, 9:59 p.m. Tweet.

Bynes, Amanda (amandabynes). “…There’s a surgery for everything that’s wrong with you!” 19 Jun. 2013, 9:01 p.m. Tweet.

Bynes, Amanda (amandabynes). “If you’re not hot I don’t value your opinion…” 19 Jun. 2013, 12:24 p.m. Tweet.

Photoshop Gone Wrong

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In the last post we saw the dramatic effects Photoshop can create between the final product and the actual model. If you missed it, you can watch the video here. In this post I would like to talk about a Photoshop scandal that actually resulted in a positive. In March 2009 Kim Kardashian posed for the cover of Complex magazine. On the cover was her retouched picture, however, on the website someone mistakenly posted the untouched version (Eisinger). When the retouched version replaced the original, many people complained (Eisinger).

Kim Kardashian responded by saying, “So what? I have a little cellulite. What curvy girl doesn’t? How many people do you think are Photoshopped? It happens all the time! I’m proud of my body and my curves, and this picture coming out is probably helpful for everyone to see that just because I am on the cover of a magazine doesn’t mean I’m perfect.”

Kim’s mature response gave me hope for the future. She could have freaked out at the website for screwing up. Instead she used this mistake as a platform to tell people to be happy with how they look.

Much like Jessica Simpson’s choice I discussed in the last post, Brad Pitt opted to do the same. He recently shot for W Magazine and he chose for his pictures to not be retouched (“Flawed Brad Pitt Exposed by Chuck Close in W Magazine”). In fact, he purposefully sought out a photographer who is famous for his “extremely detailed portraits that reveal all skin flaws”(“Flawed Brad Pitt Exposed by Chuck Close in W Magazine”). Unfortunately, not all celebrities are as on board about the acceptance of beauty and revealing what they really look like. We will look at this topic more in detail in the next post.

Cited:

Eisinger, Dale. “The 15 Biggest Photoshop Scandals of All Time.” Complex.com. N.p., 16 July 2013. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.

“Flawed Brad Pitt Exposed by Chuck Close in W Magazine.” Trendhunter.com. N.p., 7 Jan. 2009. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.

Photoshop

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I hope I didn’t ruin Barbie too much for you in my last post. Now I’d like to talk about another unrealistic side of the media…Photoshop. As if seeing all these beautiful people through media isn’t bad enough, Photoshop has created ways to digitally enhance what we see, making it even less attainable. The sad truth is that almost every picture in magazines is changed in one way or another. Dove, a leading organization in attempting to fix the way beauty is perceived, created a video to show just how much Photoshop can change any photo. As you can see, the difference is astonishing! Now, you not only have skinny beautiful woman represented in all of the ads, but come to find out, as you saw in the video, they don’t even look like that in real life. People are striving to become something that doesn’t exist.

One eight grader named Julia Bluhm decided she’d had enough of this and created an online petition which received over 80,000 signatures from around the world (Hu)! In response to that petition, Seventeen magazine pledged not to digitally alter body sizes or face shapes of young women featured in its editorial pages (Hu).

Julia Bluhm isn’t the only one taking a stand against Photoshop. Recently, Jessica Simpson launched a “Beautiful Me” program which encourages young women to be happy with who they are (“Jessica Simpson Without Makeup or Photoshop”). She also appeared on the cover of Marie Claire with no makeup or any use of Photoshop in the editing stage. She still looks beautiful, but this is a great step to reminding people that celebrities have flaws too and aren’t perfect. In the next post I would like to talk about how some Photoshop accidents actually resulted in a positive outcome.

Cited:

Dove: Evolution. Youtube.com. N.p., 2 May 2011. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.

Hu, Elise. “‘Seventeen’ Magazine Takes No-Photoshop Pledge After 8th-Grader’s Campaign.” Npr.org. N.p., 5 July 2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.

“Jessica Simpson Without Makeup or Photoshop.” Mix1065fm.cbslocal.com. N.p., 8 Apr. 2010. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.